85th in a series of posts on 2 W. Market St.
Gadfly is fond of saying that the sound of voices at the public comment spaces of City Council meeting is democracy in action.
The quintessence of the respect for the concerned common citizen that he has high-lighted on his “About” page of the Norman Rockwell image of a small town as the lens through which he looks at his ideal Bethlehem.
Norman Rockwell, Freedom of Speech
Claiming your 5 minutes at public comment, though, is different than testifying at a “trial.”
Facing President Waldron’s usually merciful soft gavel is different than facing smile-less lawyers schooled in “gotchas.”
But sometimes you have to go to trial.
Trials are “Democracy in Action.2.”
The Zoning Hearing Board meeting last night on the 2 W. Market case was trial-like.
Witnesses take an oath, lawyers cross-examine.
But “Neighborhoods are worth fighting for,” as Gadfly titled a recent post.
So you do what y’gotta do.
Last night Mary Toulouse, Frank Mayberry, and Gadfly testified.
Afterwards, Mary noted to Gadfly the following: “I made 2 points but forgot the most important one. It is true, 1) the petitioner should have respected the zoning ordinance, he knew it was only residential when he bought it. (2) He moved his business from Broad Street. Broad Street needs good businesses, neighborhoods need good residents. But for me, the zoning ordinance for residents is not just a law, it is a COVENANT where residents invest their time, talents, and life savings as well as making it their home in that area. It is the City’s responsibility to respect and protect that.
Fine models of resident participation here by Mary and Frank.
Mercifully, Gadfly — who is very shy, shuns limelight, doesn’t think well on his feet — can not yet figure out how to do a video-selfie, so you are spared seeing him. But here is the audio.
Gadfly’s message to followers is that if he can do it, you can too.
Last night’s meeting was 4 hrs. again. It did not reach climax. The case has been continued till November 12 at 6PM. at which time the Board hopes to conclude testimony and hear closing arguments. Stay tuned for 1-2 more posts on last night’s proceedings.